Rotorua kayaker Zack Mutton is in "a good headspace" going into this weekend's New Zealand canoe slalom team trials on the Mangahao River near Palmerston North.

A week ago the Olympic hopeful was dealt a devastating blow when his custom-made kayak was stolen from the Okere Falls riverbank.

Zack's mother Amanda said her son had spent the past week training in a kayak lent by a Czech friend, Vit Prindis, who is training in New Zealand during his off-season.

"It was an incredibly kind gesture and one we appreciate very much.


"Zack has been paddling the loaned boat for a week and is focused on the next two weekends of trials.

"Nothing can be taken for granted at the trials, there is a strong contingent of up-and-coming paddlers who are vying for a limited number of positions so Zack knows he has to remain positive and give everything he has."

The kayak was stolen last Friday when Zack, having finished training at Okere Falls, left it on the riverbank to go get his car.

The carbon, 3.5m-long black kayak, which retails at roughly $4500, was made for him in the Czech Republic a month ago.

At the time, Zack told the Rotorua Daily Post the kayak, while priceless to him, would be useless to others.

"This was custom-made for me. Every kayak is cut to the style of the paddler, the weight of the paddler, the personal preference of the paddler."

A $1000 reward has been offered to anybody who can help in the return of the kayak.

Amanda said the family remained hopeful the stolen kayak would turn up but, if not, they would look to replace it in the near future.


"One positive to come out of it all is the well-wishes from so many people."